As a child and a teenager, my attitudes and actions assumed the superiority of my race in almost every way without knowing or wanting to know anybody who was black, except Lucy. Lucy came to our house on Saturdays to help my mother clean. I liked Lucy, but the whole structure of the relationship was demeaning.
The best news of the Christian gospel is that the supremely glorious Creator of the universe has acted in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection to remove every obstacle between us and himself so that we may find everlasting joy in seeing and savoring his infinite beauty.
I have tried to devote my life - with all my husband failures, father failures, pastor failures, friend failures, any other possible failures I'm sure I've done them - to the God-centeredness of God and my aspiring, yearning to join Him in that activity. God is passionate about hallowing the name of God.
Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don't. You are in good company... You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.
We are all responsible to Jesus first, and then, under him, to various other persons and offices. Discerning the path of love and obedience when two or more of these submissive relationships collide is a call to humble, Bible-saturated, spiritual wisdom.
When I believe in Jesus, I am united to Christ. Therefore, what he did and achieved becomes mine by this union through faith alone. His righteous life is imputed to me. What Christ achieved is counted as mine.
Jesus Christ... came into the world to vindicate the infinite worth of God's holiness which had been desecrated by our sin and which seemed... to be taken lightly because it was being passed over for nothing more than the blood of bulls.
Don't assume that all fat people are gluttons. And don't use the word 'fat.' There is a principle here. Learn from logic and experience not to associate things - especially in preaching - that don't necessarily go together.
We look at life from the back side of the tapestry. And most of the time, what we see is loose threads, tangled knots and the like. But occasionally, God's light shines through the tapestry, and we get a glimpse of the larger design with God weaving together the darks and lights of existence.
When people think about 'thinking,' they often think 'academia;' they think 'threat.' They think 'coldness.' I want to reverse all those images and say, 'No, the brain God gave you is intended to throw fuel on the fire of your affections for God. It's really good at it if you let it.'
God revealed himself through the Law, which pointed to Christ as its end and goal, commanded the obedience that comes from faith, increased transgressions, and shut the mouths of all humans because no one has performed the righteousness of the Law so as not to need a substitute.
My prayer is that the good news of Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, would flood Jewish communities around the world, that the veil would be lifted, and that we would see a massive turning of Israel to the Lord Jesus.
Whether sexual orientation can change or not, hearts can change and turn any sexual orientation into an occasion for the glory of Christ. Those with same-sex attraction glorify Christ through sexual abstinence and through the enrichment of significant Christ-exalting relationships in other ways.
God has ordained that Satan have a long leash with God holding on to the leash because he knows that when we walk in and out of those temptations, struggling with both the physical effects that they bring and the moral effects that they bring, more of God's glory will shine.
God has levels of willing and delighting. He wills and delights in things in different ways so that approval and disapproval can coexist without being contradictory, without canceling each other out. I am making the case here for infinite complexity.
God was alive when this universe exploded into existence. He was alive when Socrates drank his poison. He was the living God when William Bradford governed Plymouth Colony. He was the living God in 1966 when Thomas Altizer proclaimed him dead and Time magazine absolutely absurdly put it on the front cover.
... the mind was designed not to defend what we want, but to discover what is ultimately true, which should shape our wants and satisfy them more deeply with God. The purpose of the mind is not to rationalize subjective preferences, but to recognize objective reality and to help the heart revel in God.
According to the spirit of this age, the ultimate sin is no longer the failure to honor and thank God but the failure to esteem oneself. Self-abasement, not God-abasement, is the evil. And the cry of deliverance is not "O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me?" but "O worthy man that I am, would that I could only see it better"!
Christ did not die to make good works merely possible or to produce a half-hearted pursuit. He died to produce in us a passion for good deeds. Christian purity is not the mere avoidance of evil, but the pursuit of good.
You have to decide what those issues are for you. What do you think disqualifies a person from holding public office? I believe that the endorsement of the right to kill unborn children disqualifies a person from any position of public office. It's simply the same as saying that the endorsement of racism, fraud, or bribery, would disqualify him - except that child-killing is more serious than those.
The dismembering of a human being routinely in 30 minutes on an outpatient bases - or any other way - is barbaric. Four blocks from our church all year long - like churches within smelling distance of Auschwitz or Dachau or Buchenwald.
The key to Christian living is a thirst and hunger for God. And one of the main reasons people do not understand or experience the sovereignty of grace and the way it works through the awakening of sovereign joy is that their hunger and thirst for God is so small.
O that we would so love the gospel and have so much compassion for lost people that tribulation and distress and persecution and famine and nakedness and danger and sword and gun and terrorist would turn us not into fearful complainers, but bold heralds of good news.
Life and death! They seem like complete opposites-at great enmity with each other. But for Paul-and for all who share his faith-there is a unity, because the same great passion is fulfilled in both-namely, that Christ be magnified in this body-our bodies-whether by life or by death.
Exultation that does not flow from education, affections that do not flow from knowing, savoring that does not flow from seeing, feeling that does not flow from thinking - are hollow and rootless - noisy gongs and clanging cymbals. And God is not glorified by artificial and empty passions. True delight is rooted in true doctrine. God-centered exultation is rooted in God-centered education.
From eternity to eternity, the beauty of God is pervasive and practical. Ask him to open the eyes of your heart (Ephesians 1:18). Give your life to this quest - seeing and savoring more and more of the happifying beauty of God.
The purpose of the Lord's Supper is to receive from Christ the nourishment and strength and hope and joy that come from feasting our souls on all that He purchased for us on the cross, especially His own fellowship.
If you can't see the sun you will be impressed with a street light. If you've never felt thunder and lightning you'll be impressed with fireworks. And if you turn your back on the greatness and majesty of God you'll fall in love with a world of shadows and short-lived pleasures.
Without extended, concentrated prayer, the ministry of the Word withers. And when the ministry of the Word declines, faith (Rom. 10:17; Gal. 3:2, 5) and holiness (John 17:17) decline. Activity may continue, but life and power and fruitfulness fade away. Therefore, whatever opposes prayer opposes the whole work of ministry.
Love is doing what will enthrall the beloved with the greatest and longest joy. What will enthrall the beloved this way is the glory of God. Love means doing all we can, at whatever cost to ourselves, to help people be enthralled with the glory of God. When they are, they are satisfied and God is glorified. Therefore loving people and glorifying God are one.
If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.
God created us for this: to live our lives in a way that makes him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that he really is. This is what it means to be created in the image of God.
The evil and suffering in this world are greater than any of us can comprehend. But evil and suffering are not ultimate. God is. Satan, the great lover of evil and suffering, is not sovereign. God is.
Nothing makes God more supreme and more central in worship than when a people are utterly persuaded that nothing - not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends - nothing is going to bring satisfaction to their sinful, guilty, aching hearts besides God.
You may be going through things right now that are painfully preparing you for some precious service to Jesus and to his people. When a person strikes rock bottom with a sense of nothingness or helplessness, he may find that he has struck the Rock of Ages
The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night.
The gospel is the good news that the everlasting and ever-increasing joy of the never-boring, ever-satisfying Christ is ours freely and eternally by faith in the sin-forgiving death and hope-giving resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God in eternity looked upon me forseeing my faultness, my pride, my sin and said 'I want that man in my family, i will pay for him to be in my family with my son's life. That's Love folks. That is mega off the charts love!!!
Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that He will provide the help we need. Prayer humbles us as needy and exalts God as wealthy
The offspring of the woman, Jesus Christ, came into the world to save women who have dethroned God, taken His place, defined personhood as tissue, and willed the death of their own child. It can't be reversed, but it can be forgiven. That is why Christ died.
If we cannot claim to live sinless lives, then the only thing that can keep us from despairing before a holy God is that we have an Advocate in heaven and He pleads our case not on the basis of our perfection but of His propitiation.
Marriage is not mainly about prospering economically; it is mainly about displaying the covenant-keepin g love between Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children. Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of marital success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity.
I've never heard anyone say the really deep lessons of life have come in times of ease and comfort. But, I have heard many saints say every significant advance I've ever made in grasping in the depth of God's love and growing deep with Him, have come through suffering.
Taken as a whole, the story of Ruth is one of those signs. It was written to give us encouragement and hope that all the perplexing turns in our lives are going somewhere good. They do not lead off a cliff. In all the setbacks of our lives as believers, God is plotting for our joy.
Woe to us if we get our satisfaction from the food in the kitchen and the TV in the den and the sex in the bedroom with an occasional tribute to the cement blocks in the basement! God wills to be displayed and known and loved and cherished and worshiped.
The best news in the world is that there is no conflict between your greatest possible happiness and God's perfect holiness. Being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus magnifies him as the greatest treasure and brings you more joy---eternal, infinite joy---than any other delight ever could.
When God appoints the gospel of his Son as the universal remedy for the guilt and corruption of mankind, and we diminish that, the gospel is diminished. And you cannot diminish the gospel without being diminished yourself.
Here was an absolutely compelling road sign. Stay on the road of objective truth - there is objective being and objective value. Stay on the road. There is Truth. There is a Point and Purpose and Essence to it all. Keep searching. You will find it.
The ultimate difference between God's wisdom and man's wisdom is how they relate to the glory of God's grace in Christ crucified. God's wisdom makes the glory of God's grace our supreme treasure. But man's wisdom delights in seeing himself as resourceful, self-sufficient, self determining, and not utterly dependent on God's free grace.
The greatest cause in the world is joyfully rescuing people from hell, meeting their earthly needs, making them glad in God, and doing it with a kind, serious pleasure that makes Christ look like the Treasure he is.
Why don't people ask us about our hope? The answer is probably that we look as if we hope in the same things they do. Our lives don't look like they are on the Calvary road, stripped down for sacrificial love, serving others with the sweet assurance that we don't need to be rewarded in this life.
The inner essence of worship is cherishing Christ as gain - indeed as more gain than all that life can offer - family, career, retirement, fame, food, friends. The essence of worship is experiencing Christ as gain. Or to use words that we love to use around here: it is savoring Christ, treasuring Christ, being satisfied with Christ.
It is a myth that man in his natural state is genuinely seeking God. Men do seek God. But they do not seek him for who he is. They seek him in a pinch as one who might preserve them from death or enhance their worldly enjoyments. Apart from conversion, no one comes to the light of God.
The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and contemplating your own greatness is pathological. At such moments we are made for a magnificent joy that comes from outside ourselves.
A Christian is not a person who believes in his head the teachings of the Bible. Satan believes in his head the teachings of the Bible! A Christian is a person who has died with Christ, whose stiff neck has been broken, whose brazen forehead has been shattered, whose stony heart has been crushed, whose pride has been slain, and whose life is now mastered by Jesus Christ.
There is a great gulf between the Christianity that wrestles with whether to worship at the cost of imprisonment and death, and the Christianity that wrestles with whether the kids should play soccer on Sunday morning.
God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of His name among the nations. Therefore, let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose.
Life is war. That's not all it is. But it is always that. Our weakness in prayer is owing largely to our neglect of this truth. Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief.
John's baptism...was a radical act of individual commitment to belong to the true people of God, based on personal confession and repentance... This is one of the main reasons that I do not believe in baptizing infants, who cannot make this personal commitment or confession or repentance. John's baptism was an assault on the very assumptions that give rise to much infant baptism.
He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he showed me that newness is no virtue and oldness is no vice. Truth and beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist. Nothing is inferior for being old, and nothing is valuable for being modern. This has freed me from the tyranny of novelty and opened for me the wisdom of the ages.
The Bible says he was raised not just after the blood-shedding, but by it. This means that what the death of Christ accomplished was so full and so prefect that the resurrection was the reward and vindication of Christ's achievement in death.
God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work, not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.
I owe my life and hope to the gospel. Without it I would still be strutting with racist pride, or I would be suffering the moral paralysis of 'white guilt.' But the gospel has an answer to both pride and guilt.
Not all single women want to be married. Not all boys like football. Not all homemakers like to cook. Not all messy people are lazy. And not all the obese are gluttons. There are glands and diabetes and a dozen conditions you never heard of that may account for things. Put your sermon through the counter-stereotype sieve.
The saving love of God is his doing whatever must be done, at great cost to himself, and for the least deserving, so that he might enthrall them with what will make them supremely happy forever, namely, himself.
My mother, who grew up in Pennsylvania, literally washed my mouth out with soap once for saying, 'Shut up!' to my sister. She would have washed my mouth out with gasoline if she knew how foul my mouth was racially when she wasn't around.